Jurgen Klopp discussed Christian Benteke’s performance and Liverpool’s youngsters after beating Exeter in the FA Cup.
Goals from Joe Allen, Sheyi Ojo and Joao Teixeira inspired the Reds to a 3-0 victory over League Two Exeter in the third-round replay at Anfield.
After using a side comprising predominantly youngsters in the first meeting with Exeter, a 2-2 draw earlier this month, Klopp kept faith, making just three changes to his starting line-up.
His decision was rewarded with an impressive showing, and a fourth-round clash with West Ham now awaits.
Klopp was impressed with Ojo and Teixeira, as well as Connor Randall, Brad Smith and Cameron Brannagan, but has preached caution with regards to their development.
“We need to keep them here and work with them because football is not individual – you have to develop individually but also as a team and it is not always important to impress in a one-on-one,” he said.
“It is not the right moment to talk about this but in football if you are good enough you need to take the next step. Keep them here, work together and then I am sure the way is shorter for them but that is for the future.”
On his two young goalscorers Klopp added: “I like Joao, he is a good footballer but of course players like him need matches.It is not allowed to be three or four years as a substitute at this age, you have to play, and I would like to work longer with him. It is only four months and I’ve seen big jumps in his development and he deserved his goal. He did really well in the Championship and since he came back he has not done bad.
“Ojo is very young so not 20 interviews next week or man of the match awards. Leave the guys where they are. Everyone who sees him play sees what big skills he has but he has a lot to work on. He made a goal, not too bad, and in the last game he came in and it was important for the draw.”
Benteke completed the full 90 minutes against Exeter as one of the only senior members of the squad, and despite not scoring, Klopp was happy with the Belgian.
“I saw him after the game, he was in good shape,” Klopp told BT Sport. “There were a lot of situations at the beginning of the game where the referee said Christian made a foul – it was not easy for him, but he got 92 minutes and that was important for me.
“It would have been good for him and us had he scored tonight, but he worked the spaces around the box well.
“Whenever a striker doesn’t score he’s not satisfied. That’s normal.”